Differences in SQ of Ethernet Cable Challenge - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 108 Old 05-09-2014, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm involved in a thread at PF about certain members there not understanding the mechanics behind computer based audio as it pertains from getting material over Ethernet.

Some are adamant that they can tell a difference in Ethernet that passes spec. So I offered up the following and want to see if their are any potential holes in the method for testing an individuals ability to simply discern a difference reliably:

My offer to the person(s):

A computer with two identical network cards. One card has what ever passes spec CAT5/6/7 you want (I would assume AQ would pass testing or we could take Kurt at BJC up on his offer to send one of your choice for validation) and one of his cables or other certified CAT6. You bring your cable and I'll bring mine.

Set card A up with static ip, as example, 192.168.10.20/24, card B s 192.168.10.21/24, NAS as 192.168.10.22/24.

Setup as a typical network: NAS> GB Switch> Card A / Card B (identical cards)>USB to DAC.

I would bring a Windows PC with fresh install of Win 7 X64.

Media Monkey / Foobar / JRiver with WASAPI or ASIO. Your choice. We can discuss play list and how you want them setup.

Use a Wyred DAC ~$1600 ( let me know if Wyred is unacceptable ). Connected via your choice of USB cable.

You indicate to me when to roll the dice. I would simply enable or disable a network interface in Windows(or not). I wouldn't be in the room to do this. Just setup RDP and I would control from a 3rd network controller on a separate physical network (directly cabled most likely for efficiency of setup) so no network bandwidth taken up on the Card A / Card B / NAS segment.

1 day

RDP only requires 5.6Kpbs (same as old 56k dial up modem speeds) for trivial screen sharing tasks.

Loser purchases the DAC for the winning party. I could be in Chicago in ~ 4 hours. Your system. 15 rolls of the dice. Even # Card A odd # card B. Hit 13 out of 15 (86%). I'm not even asking you hit an A letter grade. Initial roll will determine if Card A or B starts the evaluation session.
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post #2 of 108 Old 05-09-2014, 10:47 PM
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Wait what?
Someone believes that ethernet cables sound different?
BTW what is PF?

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post #3 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 01:54 AM
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PF = Polk Forum, aka Club Polk - The Polk Audio forums.

Never will you find a larger group of audiophools anywhere but there. tongue.gif
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post #4 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 03:45 AM
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Some people believe their power plug makes a difference. It comes down to a very simple fact: A little knowledge is dangerous. Very little knowledge is very dangerous.

You will never win these discussions. Physics, or even fair objective testing, will never allow reason and reality to overcome religion. "What ever makes you happy" is the only suitable answer. I hate to see people waste money on snake oil, but this is not life threatening, so let it be.

I will challenge " meets spec" little. Unless you are using Belden, most cable above Cat 3 does not meet spec if you were to test it. Unless your BER is too high, it still is not an issue, just realize the absolute garbage being sold out there. I bought a premade "cat 6e" cable in the big box store. When I shortened it, I found the pairs were not bonded and the twists per foot were all the same between pairs. Probably no better than cat 5. Made in China. Need I say more, For audio, no problem. If you were going to use this for HDBaseT, you may have difficulty.

If I were to bitch abut something it is using packet based transports for streaming data. Maybe the QOS features of IP V6 will allow some help in this if they are ever used. Same as USB3 is no substitute for Firewire.
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post #5 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Not sure why packet switched networks are fine for broadcast video but not audio?

I can transfer an entire CD on GB networking in 6-7 seconds. I'm also talking about certified cable BTW (I thought it was mentioned in my offer).

I'm trying to give $1600 away and willing to drive 4 hours to Chicago and plop the test rig in some ones own listening room and they STILL won't take up the offer.

In the end that really makes my point for me so all is well. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them think. Focusrite has a line up of ethernet connected Mastering solutions now.
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post #6 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 07:40 AM
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Remember you are arguing with the delusional. People that think their sighted, zero blind testing of any type, trumps how packet based networks function.

I'm surprised that you don't have audiophiles using PCIe NICs' vs mainboard or swapping out Intel, Realtek, KillerNIC etc interfaces and reporting on the differences. Also keep in mind NIC's are galvonically isolated.

The other thing to keep in mind is embarrassing them like that will get you banned.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #7 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 07:43 AM
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I believe that a couple things are possible

1. The power of the placebo effect is not to be underestimated.
Study after study have shown astonishing results. Subjects given the placebo responded as well or in some cases better than subjects given the real treatment.
Were just starting to scratch the surface of the mystery and power of what the mind in truly capable of.
2. We have perception that greatly exceeds any test equipment.
3.The cumulative effect of small differences can add up to perceptible difference.

In the end your right-do what ever makes you happy.
After all it their money.
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post #8 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 08:58 AM
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All your points are easily validated on a person by person basis.

When people are told there are sq differences in quality (there is a ton of crap out there) Ethernet cables it is a lie plain and simple.

The other thing to keep in mind is wireless have zero of the L, c, r properties of copper or silver extruded cables

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #9 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a byte by ZLTFUL. Let you know how it works out.
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post #10 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 12:50 PM
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This is getting interesting. I wonder if he will actually carry through with it? I'm betting he will come to his senses and tuck tail and run. Ignore F1nut and Tonyb. Cowards.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #11 of 108 Old 05-10-2014, 02:17 PM
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post #12 of 108 Old 05-11-2014, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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For me there is $1600 riding on it. I now have a city: Des Moines.

Any active AVSer's that anyone know of there?
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post #13 of 108 Old 05-11-2014, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Is Darque Knight even remotely correct here:

Floyd Toole and Sean Olive have no real interest in stereophonic reproduction systems. They consider them fundamentally flawed and inferior to monophonic systems. That is why the vast majority of their audio tests were/are done in mono.
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post #14 of 108 Old 05-11-2014, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habanero Monk View Post

Is Darque Knight even remotely correct here:

Floyd Toole and Sean Olive have no real interest in stereophonic reproduction systems. They consider them fundamentally flawed and inferior to monophonic systems. That is why the vast majority of their audio tests were/are done in mono.

Is Darque Knight ever right about anything?

And why do people even bother going to the Polk Forums? It's like going to the zoo and trying to have a conversation with the chimps.

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #15 of 108 Old 05-11-2014, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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I found his post odd since they are in part responsible for Harmans listening room. Which is in stereo.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to call out those two icons.
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post #16 of 108 Old 05-12-2014, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Is Darque Knight ever right about anything?

And why do people even bother going to the Polk Forums? It's like going to the zoo and trying to have a conversation with the chimps.

I go just to see what mind blowing "tweaks" they will find next. Cheap entertainment.
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post #17 of 108 Old 05-12-2014, 11:39 AM
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It's even better when they try to sound factual using a bunch of baseless claims:

http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?160401-Does-high-quality-digital-cables-matter&p=2047014&viewfull=1#post2047014
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post #18 of 108 Old 05-12-2014, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Is Darque Knight ever right about anything?

And why do people even bother going to the Polk Forums? It's like going to the zoo and trying to have a conversation with the chimps.

Be careful there. wink.gif Some chimps may be able to sign and communicate. biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 108 Old 05-12-2014, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like it is still a go. The only wrinkle is ZLTFUL wants to introduce a CAT5e cable. I just want it certified that it passes CAT5e spec and is capable of GB speed.
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post #20 of 108 Old 05-12-2014, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habanero Monk View Post

I found his post odd since they are in part responsible for Harmans listening room. Which is in stereo.

It takes a lot of chutzpah to call out those two icons.

Toole and Oliver have said that when comparing two different speakers, it's better to compare a single speaker vs a single speaker (which of course means mono), instead of comparing stereo setups with the speakers in pairs. The chimps on the Polk Forums probably misunderstood that and ran with it.

Sorry, I just offended chimps! wink.gif

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post #21 of 108 Old 05-13-2014, 09:00 AM
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Looks like it is still a go. The only wrinkle is ZLTFUL wants to introduce a CAT5e cable. I just want it certified that it passes CAT5e spec and is capable of GB speed.

You need to let him use his own Peachtree DAC like he wants to. Or that will be the next excuse. Not like it will make any difference anyways.

I notice the other members are starting to get upset that he is going to do this. Wonder why? Also found it hilarious that now thay want him to do it at Polkfest, on an unfamiliar syatem.

It would be great if you could get others to try it as well, but I'm still pretty sure this test is not going to happen at all.
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post #22 of 108 Old 05-13-2014, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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You need to let him use his own Peachtree DAC like he wants to. Or that will be the next excuse. Not like it will make any difference anyways.

I notice the other members are starting to get upset that he is going to do this. Wonder why? Also found it hilarious that now thay want him to do it at Polkfest, on an unfamiliar syatem.

It would be great if you could get others to try it as well, but I'm still pretty sure this test is not going to happen at all.

My reasoning for the Wyred Audio DAC is that they couldn't say the DAC they were using was somehow compromised. I'm still thinking about it. Part of the issue is the more you let someone make changes, the more changes I believe they are going to try and make.
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post #23 of 108 Old 05-13-2014, 10:41 AM
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My reasoning for the Wyred Audio DAC is that they couldn't say the DAC they were using was somehow compromised. I'm still thinking about it. Part of the issue is the more you let someone make changes, the more changes I believe they are going to try and make.

I don't really think that is a change. He said he could do it on his system, so make sure it is his system.

If it were me, I'd add some analog/speaker cable tests in there too. They will still claim those have a night and day difference after he fails the digital test...if it really takes place.
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post #24 of 108 Old 05-13-2014, 12:07 PM
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I don't really think that is a change. He said he could do it on his system, so make sure it is his system.

If it were me, I'd add some analog/speaker cable tests in there too. They will still claim those have a night and day difference after he fails the digital test...if it really takes place.

Exactly. I would use exactly his system in his home at his leisure, but level matched and blinded. Minimize the excuses why he failed. Also needs to have enough trials to be statistically meaningful, say 15 or 20 trials at least if the person can even get there since one famous cable test
here ended up not completing as the subject gave up. That system was into 7 figures. wink.gif
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post #25 of 108 Old 05-13-2014, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm ok with him using his Peachtree DAC-IT.

There is no need for level matching since we aren't comparing DAC's etc... Just ability to discern data cables.

The challenge has changed a bit:

A/B/C cable. 30 roll of the die. 1-2=A, 3-4=B, 5-6=C and he has to say which cable is plugged in.
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post #26 of 108 Old 05-14-2014, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habanero Monk View Post

I'm ok with him using his Peachtree DAC-IT.

There is no need for level matching since we aren't comparing DAC's etc... Just ability to discern data cables.

The challenge has changed a bit:

A/B/C cable. 30 roll of the die. 1-2=A, 3-4=B, 5-6=C and he has to say which cable is plugged in.
OK. I would think you may want to do 2 cables first, then the 3rd with one of the first two so the statistics is easier. And, 20 trials is just fine(16 of 20 correct), if he can last that long wink.gifbiggrin.gif
Oh, also, it is fair not to change anything as long as he thinks there is a change and see how well he guesses. wink.gif
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post #27 of 108 Old 05-14-2014, 01:59 PM
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The challenge has changed a bit:

A/B/C cable. 30 roll of the die. 1-2=A, 3-4=B, 5-6=C and he has to say which cable is plugged in.
Very bad idea. The statistics are way too complex, unless you have a real background in the field. What's your threshold going to be?

Just do two at a time, 20 trials, as CJ suggests.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #28 of 108 Old 05-14-2014, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post

Some people believe their power plug makes a difference. It comes down to a very simple fact: A little knowledge is dangerous. Very little knowledge is very dangerous.

You will never win these discussions. Physics, or even fair objective testing, will never allow reason and reality to overcome religion. "What ever makes you happy" is the only suitable answer. I hate to see people waste money on snake oil, but this is not life threatening, so let it be. [emphasis added]

I will challenge " meets spec" little. Unless you are using Belden, most cable above Cat 3 does not meet spec if you were to test it. Unless your BER is too high, it still is not an issue, just realize the absolute garbage being sold out there. I bought a premade "cat 6e" cable in the big box store. When I shortened it, I found the pairs were not bonded and the twists per foot were all the same between pairs. Probably no better than cat 5. Made in China. Need I say more, For audio, no problem. If you were going to use this for HDBaseT, you may have difficulty.

If I were to bitch abut something it is using packet based transports for streaming data. Maybe the QOS features of IP V6 will allow some help in this if they are ever used. Same as USB3 is no substitute for Firewire.

The thing is, batshit crazy does not limit itself to only things that are "unimportant," like audio. People who reason poorly about one subject tend to reason poorly about everything, and consequently, this sort of insanity can be life-threatening. For more on what I mean, take a look at the essay by William Kingdon Clifford at:

http://ajburger.homestead.com/files/book.htm

Giving up on reason in audio is essentially giving up on reason altogether. If reason matters, then it matters, and one should use it.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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post #29 of 108 Old 05-14-2014, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Very bad idea. The statistics are way too complex, unless you have a real background in the field. What's your threshold going to be?

Just do two at a time, 20 trials, as CJ suggests.

The thresh hold is 86% correct correlation of audio playing to cable plugged into the switch.
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post #30 of 108 Old 05-14-2014, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, also, it is fair not to change anything as long as he thinks there is a change and see how well he guesses. wink.gif

First off I agree. I already tried explaining this: This stuff is cached in RAM. Most drivers allow for 20 (WASAPI)seconds read ahead buffer and JRIVER? You can place 1GB aside.

So when I have a 789MB album playing into the first track the entire album can be in RAM by the time the track hits the 8 second mark. Pull the network cable and walk away for an hour. THAT has crossed my mind. The sad thing is that they would think it would be an act of pure deception.
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